emperor state of mind


am from eastleigh. section III. i’m not sure its 18th or 19th street. i’m definite its ‘madiwa’. allow me to get you to know me or at least let me tell you a story. my family and me now live in south b. a middle middle-class estate. now i wake up to news of murders, carjackings and gunshots. well, news; its an improvement. i dont like it. it takes me back to where am from.
remember the rap ‘ nilihama mtaa/ siezi park hummer mtaa‘. mine. the mosque tells us the time from day break to night fall. in town they usher you into public transport hollering, ‘eastleigh usilie‘. eastleigh dont cry. we bleed. i dont know how to plead and i dont want to. check the spirit of eastleigh business district. started with a building- garissa lodge. potholes on the road swallow vehicles.
burst sewers. paper boats racing faeces and used condoms to nairobi river. that’s us splashing about 😉 iza . no, that’s us lining up for breakfast mandazi, the still  sleepy girl with a leg of her jeans folded to the knee is my ‘love interest’. a friend, she doesnt think my dreams of success far fetched; a life outside of the present existence. currently, she’s paying her way through college as two of her friends have babies by different fathers.
am looking back at me looking over ‘motherland’ kijiji. leaning on the railings or standing at the edge of the roof  wishing on the c.b.d and aeroplane flashing lights. jojo ‘remind yourself nobody built like you/ you design yourself’. ‘ i had a dream i said…’
i take you to church; thus far the lord … (i lost the words). music is escape. my nephew/ cousin cant live without radio; sermons, hip hop and hallelujah music. he’s now in new york city. we huddle into awkward positions and spaces in the overstuffed room and are careful not to interfere with the grown ups. their stories after supper stretch deep into the night. it is then the table, seats and floor would be converted into sleeping quarters. i never counted the number of souls but i count my blessings
meanwhile, i freestyle over tape cassette recorded kalamashaka. ‘fanya mambo kwa wasee wangu wa mtaa! fanya mambo kwa wasee tunahustle nao! tuna fanya mambo! hatuna wasi wasi…’ i bounce on mashifta’s ‘pesa pombe siasa na wanawake‘ & ‘system ya majambazi‘. ‘ simu; wanawake. tuongee mapenzi. wanaume. biashara‘ – i paraphrase
recently i met a member of kalamashaka at the godown. i was crushed. i composed myself and went over to… pay my respects… to a living legend. i thanked them for their contribution to hip hop as well as pop in kenya ( i dare say africa). i consoled myself in the thought of continuity offered by the rise and rise of juliani. eastlands is not a waste land. it is not only sports, entertainment, crime and vote basket
the mindless walks – ‘ raundi mwenda‘ underlie the restlessness or is a subconscious metaphor for social mobility. a search for better or just different. ‘beast‘ is sheng for police. do you know the life expectancy? run! others have had it worse therefore. she calls me ‘mpank‘ which denotes born silver-spoon-in-mouth. they lived by the river…
just now, something interesting happened. an insurance sales lady walks up to me, ‘ unajua si vizuri kuwa serious hivo kwa hii maisha, changamka kiasi‘. ‘you know its not good to be so serious in this life, lighten up. i look at her and smile, ‘ (sio kupenda kwangu) … ni sura yangu ndio iko hivo’. ‘(its not my desire) … its my face that is that way’, she smiles or laughs lightly and walks away.

so far, so good. so long. the saga continues; emperor state of mind. veni vidi vici. amen

for Alex.


2 thoughts on “emperor state of mind

  1. “the mindless walks – ‘raundi mwenda‘ underlie the restlessness or is a subconscious metaphor for social mobility. a search for better or just different.”

    Very nicely done sir.

    PS. Nitaringa… 🙂

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